Alvin Lee Brooks
Alvin Lee Brooks (born May 3, 1932) is a Kansas City civil rights leader, a former Kansas City, Mo., police officer, city councilman, founder of the AdHoc Group Against Crime.  and president of the Kansas City board of police commissioners.
Early Life[edit | edit source]
Brooks was born in North Little Rock, Arkansas to unwed teenage parents Wilbur Lamar Herring and Thomasine Gilder. When he was nine-months-old, Gilder left Brooks with Cluster and Estella Brooks who would raise him to adulthood. As a child, Brooks suffered from a condition that would not allow him to keep food in his stomach. Untreated, it would lead to malnutrition and death. A local “herb doctor” suggested raw goat milk as a cure. Cluster Brooks purchased a goat for $1.25 and Brooks was soon cured of his ailment.
After Cluster Brooks shot a white man in self-defense, he, Estella, Alvin and their goat fled Arkansas to Kansas City for their safety. The impoverished family established itself in Kansas City, enduring hunger, harsh winters and the humiliation of living in a segregated city. In 1950, Brooks graduated from the R.T. Coles Vocational High School. On August 23, 1950, Brooks married Carol Rich, to whom he would remain married until her death in 2013.
Flouting the desires of his father, who was bitterly opposed to the police, Brooks joined the Kansas City police department in 1954. Unable to advance in the police department because of the racist policies of the time, Brooks left the department in 1964.
After leaving the police department, Brooks worked with the Kansas City, Missouri School District. In 1968, when the assassination of Martin Luther King sparked riots in Kansas City’s black community, Brooks played an important role as peacemaker, helping calm students and bringing peace to the community. His talent as a community leader led to Brooks being appointed director of Kansas City’s first Human Relations Department on May 27, 1968. With that appointment, Brooks also became the first African-American department director for Kansas City. (AdHoc Group Against Crime. 2016.)
AdHoc Group[edit | edit source]
In 1977, Brooks founded the AdHoc Group Against Crime to combat the violence that was afflicting Kansas City’s black community. The organization successfully closed down many crack houses in the 1980s, and in 1989 was honored by President George Herbert Walker Bush for its achievements.
City Government[edit | edit source]
In 1984, Brooks was appointed Kansas City’s assistant city manager, the first black in that role.
In 2007, Brooks ran for Mayor of Kansas City and was narrowly defeated by Mark Funkhouser.. In 2010, Brooks was appointed to Kansas City’s Board of Police Commissioners. He resigned from the police board in 2018 and joined the Hickman Mills School Board.
Awards[edit | edit source]
Brooks is the recipient of many awards and honors, including the Harry S. Truman Award for Public Service and a 1989 appointment to serve on the President’s National Drug Advisory Council for three years. In 2009, he was named University of Missouri-Kansas City Alumnus of the Year
References[edit | edit source]
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